Midwestern Boneless Chuck Shortribs
These boneless short ribs are cut from what is known as the “chuck shortrib”. Intensely marbled, they usually contain somewhat hefty sections of outer fat. We have trimmed the fatty exterior extensively, so that when they land on your doorstep they’re ready to be cooked!
The Short rib is a cut that can get really confusing, really quickly. The main culprit is that there are two sections of the steer that you can cut short ribs from, the Chuck (shoulder area) or the plate (down towards the belly area, hence the term “navel short rib”). Both can be done either boneless, or bone-in. There are significant differences between the two muscles groups, though, so a bone-in Chuck Short Rib will be quite different from bone-in Plate Navel Short Rib, and the same goes for the two boneless versions.
What we are doing with these boneless short ribs, is pulling them from the section of the beef chuck that is sometimes referred to as the “chuck flap” or “chuck flat”. This is a cut that is attached to and is the extension of the Chuck Short Rib, so has the same attributes but is dramatically more uniform when portioned. To be honest, trying to get a boneless Short Rib from either the Navel or Chuck Short Rib will be disappointing because no matter how thick they look bone in, the boneless result is quite thin and lacks any uniformity (and uniformity plays a key role in cooking – uniform pieces will take the same time requirements to cook through).
USDA PRIME: these boneless shortribs are graded USDA Prime, the top tier of quality in the US. The Prime grade indicates the highest level of marbling, resulting in increased tenderness and flavor.
ANGUS CATTLE: These boneless shortribs are sourced from Angus Cattle, raised in the Midwest. The naturally larger muscles of the Angus breed work in the favor of this cut – you’ll get a thicker portion size working with Angus shortribs than you would with the Holstein breed.
SHIP FROZEN: Flash frozen after being processed, these boneless shortribs will be safe for an additional 6-7months in your freezer, or 4-5 days in your refrigerator once thawed.
UN-AGED: Two reasons why we do not dry age this particular cut – first, because there is very little protective covering that would allow us to dry age these (without enough bone or fat covering the meat, you incur too high of a trim loss when you trim the aged edges off the meat after it has finished dry aging). Secondly, we’re huge believers that this cut is perfect when braised, and no matter what type of recipe you end us using (red wine sauce, bbq style braise, etc), the shortribs are acting as a vehicle for that flavor. In this case, you really don’t want to add the unique dry aged flavor to the dish, as it might compete with the flavor of the braising sauce.
In terms of cooking, I suggest to either Braise or Braise, or as an alternative, Braise*. That method is what these shortribs are all about. They rank at the top of the Comfort Food list when prepared in this manner. There are a million variations ranging from “Haute Cuisine French” to “Down Home BBQ”, which gives you an idea of the versatility here. The basis of all these recipes is “low and slow”. In any method used, the meat is browned first in a skillet, then moved to a pot containing whatever sauce you have chosen and allowed to simmer slowly for a few hours. Absolute winner hint: This type of entrée (cooked in a sauce) will be better the second or third day after cooking because when left in the sauce, the meat will continue to absorb and be enhanced by the flavor of the sauce. I always make a double batch, freeze half (sauce and all) – then you have a “get out of making dinner free card”, for all you have to do is thaw and heat.
Timing can be variable; in the simplest sense, you just want to cook until the meat is fork tender. You’ll want to make sure that the individual shortrib pieces are placed in a single layer in the cooking pot (don’t stack them on top of each other), and whatever sauce you’re using should be almost covering the meat. Figure a good rule of thumb is that if you’re cooking in a 350degree oven, it’ll take about 2 and a half hours.
*Ok, technically you could go a few other directions with these, I’m just biased. These shortribs are of a high enough quality that theoretically you could throw them on a grill, but you would want go as low of heat as possible, and turn the pieces almost constantly (a quarter turn every 5-6 minutes). In my humble opinion, the amount of effort required to do these on a grill (especially when compared with the simplicity of braising) is simply not worth the end result.
This cut also could work if sliced very thin and cooked very quickly over high heat, in a Korean BBQ style method. You would have to do the slicing on your end (we prep them in larger pieces here), and a good tip for getting as thin of slices as possible is to make your cuts when the meat is halfway frozen.